Tag Archives: Australian Open

On the Brink of History: Serena Williams Has Grand Slam in Her Sights at the U.S. Open

29 Aug

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Serena Williams is halfway to tennis's Grand Slam.  She renews her chase for immortality at Wimbledon.

Serena Williams is one U.S. Open win  from tennis’s Grand Slam. She renews her chase for immortality at Wimbledon.

If you want to see someone attempt to accomplish a pretty major athletic milestone, might I suggest that you walk away from that National Football League preseason game and focus your attention on Flushing Meadows, New York?
You see, Serena Williams will be on the court attempting to make history, and you don’t want to miss it.

With the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon titles already in hand, Williams has her sights set on becoming the first tennis player since Steffi Graf to win all four of tennis’s Grand Slam titles in the same season by winning the U.S. Open. She’s already made history this year by being the oldest female tennis player to win a Grand Slam event at the ripe “old” age of 33.

Suffice it to say, Williams is looking forward to coming to New York and the adventure of adding another chapter to her brilliant legacy as the one of the best women’s tennis players of all-time.

“Yeah, I’m ready. I don’t care if I win or lose or break even,” she said. “I’m ready to start it, get it over with, and be done and go on to the next event. But I’m so ready for New York. Let’s go, right?”

Dating back to the 2014 U.S. Open, Williams has won the last four Grand-Slam events. If she does win the U.S. Open, it will be her 22nd major title, which would tie her with Graf for the most major titles since the Open Era began in 1968. Margaret Court holds the all-time record for Grand Slam titles with 24.

Williams will be getting everybody’s best shot as she has during her last three Grand Slam events. In the third round at Wimbledon, Britain’s Heather Watson had her at match point in the third set, but Williams rallied to win. In the quarterfinals, Williams dropped the first set against Victoria Azarenka, but then came back to win the next two sets.

At the Rogers Cup in Toronto earlier this month, Williams suffered her second loss of 2015 against Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic in the semifinals of that tournament. She had won 14 matches in a row before that match.

But as is her fashion, Williams bounced back from that defeat two weeks later to win the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, a key U.S. Open tune-up. While the pressure to win the U.S. Open is especially intense with the Grand Slam on the line, it’s something Williams embraces.

“I’ve decided I prefer to have that pressure than the pressure of not winning,” Williams said. “Not everyone can handle that pressure, but I’m okay with it. I would rather be to this position than another one.”

Throughout all her Grand-Slam matches, Williams has been dominant at times and quite vulnerable at others. She seems to have developed an ability to focus even harder when she is staring defeat in the face.

Williams reminds me of some of those great boxers who seem to find a deeper resolve once they’ve been hit or knocked down. Cats like Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and others who seem to be at their best when things look the worse.
“Yeah, in the end it’s pretty tough to play against Serena. She’s more motivated I think,” said Simona Halep, who lost to Williams in the finals of Western and Southern Tournament. “More focused and into the tournament. Yeah, she feels the game and she feels everything and she gets more stronger.”
Williams’ run to the Grand Slam hasn’t been easy, which is why it’s been so interesting to watch. Williams’ matches have probably had more twists and turns than an episode of “Scandal”. To tell you the truth, I don’t think Shonda Rhimes could craft a script with this many twists and turns in it.
No matter how she gets it done, Williams has developed a mentality made famous by late Oakland Raiders Al Davis… Just win baby.
‘It’s all up to me. If I decide to play right, it’ll be great,” she said.

Serena Williams’ Drive to Immortality in Women’s Tennis

2 Feb

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Serena Williams holds the 2015 Australia Open Trophy. Photo by Yahoo.com

Serena Williams holds the 2015 Australia Open Trophy. Photo by Yahoo.com.

As the rest of the world was sleeping with visions of Seahawks and Patriots dancing in their heads, Serena Williams was in Melbourne, Australia moving closer and closer to tennis immortality with yet another dominant performance in a Grand-Slam event.

In a sport where you’re considered elderly in your late 20s, the 33-year-old Williams became the oldest female tennis player to win the Australian Open with her victory over an overmatched, but game Maria Sharapova in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6.

Williams won her 19th Grand-Slam singles title, the second most in the Open-era behind Steffi Graf who won 22. She moved past Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, who both have 18. If she keeps playing at this high level, the she could do it this year—which means Williams would win the tennis Grand-Slam, something that hasn’t happened since Graf did it in 1988. Since turning 30, Williams has won six Grand-Slam singles titles.

Williams said while the goal to catch Graf is within reach, she’s just focused on winning her next Grand-Slam event, which doesn’t take place until May at the French Open.

“I would love to get to 22. I mean 19 was very difficult to get to,” said Williams, who won her first major single title in 1999 when she was 17. “But I have to get to 20 first and then I have to get to 21. It will be a very big task.”

Serena Williams and her sister Venus (seven Grand-Slam singles titles) have dominated the tennis scene so much over the last 15 years that you expect to see one of them in a Grand-Slam singles final whether it’s the French Open, the U.S Open  or Wimbledon. The sisters are considered to be one of the greatest doubles-tandems ever with 13 titles. They have never lost in a major final.

After the match, ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver said Williams is the greatest women’s tennis player of all-time when you consider those 13 doubles titles she won playing with Venus.

“It’s the complete package of an all-time great tennis player,” Shriver said.

But wouldn’t it be great to see Williams catch up with Graf and win the Grand Slam in the process? To be sure, it’s going to be tough given her age and the youth of her competition. I’d like to see her go after it and become the greatest women’s test player ever in spectacular fashion.

As long as Williams stays healthy and keeps that blistering serve, she has a good shot at running the table with wins in the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S Open.

From what I saw in Williams match against Sharapova on Saturday, it could definitely happen. Fighting through the match with a respiratory illness, Williams powerful serve kept Sharapova off balance throughout the match.

Williams had 18 aces in the match, including 15 in a tough, second- set tiebreaker in which both she and Sharapova held serve. Williams ended the match with a powerful ace to put her name in the record books.

If she were to retire today, Serena Williams with her 19 singles titles and 13 doubles crowns would definitely go down as one of the all-time greats in tennis or arguably the best ever. Not bad for a young woman who first learned her tennis, not in some stuffy, rich country club, but on the public courts in the poor Los Angeles suburb of Compton.

I don’t know how much Williams has left in the tank in her quest to catch up to and eventually pass Graf, but I would tell you to take every opportunity to see her try with her blistering serves and overall power because athletes like Williams don’t come along too often.